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NC NAACP pledges action against voter ID, charter school bills
Lawsuits, voter activity pledged as response
Published Tuesday, June 12, 2018 7:50 am
by Maria Meghar, The Triangle Tribune

RALEIGH – The North Carolina NAACP is gearing up to fight a proposed state voter ID bill.

“It will not succeed. We call on the nation to stand with us as we reject this succession bill,” President Rev. T. Anthony Spearman told a crowd gathered at the NAACP office in Raleigh Monday. He also called Apple and Amazon as well as other corporations to pass on locating campuses in North Carolina as long as the bill exists.

Spearman called the General Assembly’s actions a “suppression session,” specifically highlighting two bills that are being considered: HB 1092, a proposed amendment to the constitution that would require an ID to vote, and House Bill 514/S.L. 2018-3, which would allow towns in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system to create and maintain their own charter schools. Many believe the bill would further segregate public schools in the state’s second-largest district.

“The politics of exclusion is not new,” Spearman said. “This is reminiscent of schools created in the 1950s…. These are schools that will put their students at a disadvantage in the world they encounter.”

Critics of HB 514 argue it promotes segregation because charter school enrollment will be limited to residents in predominantly white Mint Hill, Matthews, Huntersville and Cornelius.

“Clearly, this is an effort to go back to the 1900s with Jim Crow where these enclaves for whites are being allowed to be set up,” said Irv Joyner, an attorney and the Legal Redress Chair for the North Carolina NAACP.

NAACP officials highlighted earlier attempts to institute a voter ID law when they discussed the proposed constitutional amendment.

“The court has already spoken that requiring ID to vote is illegal,” Joyner said. “The intent has not changed. The only thing that has changed is the time. It’s not 2013; it’s 2018, but it’s the same old song.”

A federal appeals court said that the 2013 voter ID law was designed to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” and was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of that decision, leaving the law overturned.

Spearman called the new voter ID proposal “a threat to justice,” and Joyner said, “It seems clear that the legislature is intent on promoting additional legislation in the state of North Carolina.”

“The NAACP has no choice but to fight,” Joyner said. “They have made their intent clear. We have no reason to believe that intent has changed or that racial animus has changed.”

Joyner said the NAACP is studying the legal issues and is prepared to fight accordingly, including filing a lawsuit to challenge both actions.

“They’ve spent millions and millions of dollars to try to defend their voter suppression tactics,” said Derick Smith, the state NAACP political action chair. He called General Assembly’s actions  “despicable,” adding the civil rights group will pursue legal action and a vigorous get-out-the-vote effort.

“If that doesn’t get people voting, nothing will,” Smith said.


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